Friday, January 30, 2009

Gift giving in South Africa

South Africa. Majestic plains, big skies, epic scenery, diverse cultures, amazing resources, truly God’s country. Wildlife that is second to none and a history that is as turbulent as it is deep rooted in traditions and values.

You can almost smell the history in the earth as you visit her national parks and watch the graceful antelope and hear the herds of Wilderbeest thundering across the savannah in front of you. And on the hill in the distance, could that be Shaka the Zulu and his Impi appearing on the horizon?

Shaka the Zulu

The rise of the Zulu Kingdom occurred in the late 18th century, through atrocities and cruelty, Shaka - the illegitimate son of a Zulu chief and a young girl Nandi, systematically expanded his territories by controlling more and more Zulu clans, finally creating the most powerful kingdom in Southern Africa by the beginning of the 19th century. He used his power destructively and was eventually assassinated by his own half brother in 1828. The destructive re-structuring of the tribes and country, came to an end with his death and the disturbances among the growing refugees and settlors led to re-grouping. Large communities started to appear and the Chiefs that led clans disappeared. They could be safer and better defended in this manner and so progress again as a Nation.

Many races have tried to rule South Africa, on top of which immigration of differing races have meant that there is a melting pot of nationalities, from the indigenous black people and their differing tribes, plus white Europeans, Indians, Chinese and Indo Malays. This can mean that it is hard to generalize on etiquette and cultural trends when giving gifts. Also many religious differences can come into play.

In the Cape area, there may be many Muslim families, so be aware of the Muslim restrictions we have mentioned before in the Middle east article, to save offence. Alcohol may not be a good item to give, so chocolates, flowers or baked goods may be a better suggestion. It may be necessary if visiting a home to remove your shoes, so avoid the socks with the hole in!!

With the sumptuous array of wines and liquors available in South Africa from her own vineyards and resources, it would be a wonderful gift idea for many people and circumstances.

Wild Africa Liquor gift from Corporate Gifts Boston - South Africa collection.

If meeting a known Zulu for the first time , the classic Zulu greeting ‘ Sawubona’ or ‘I see you ‘ would be well met. Many would know this phrase irrespective of Tribe so a nice little greeting to memorize. The response would be ‘Yebo, Sawubona’ or ‘Yes I see you too’. Nothing brings a smile to peoples’ faces more than an attempt to greet in a native tongue anywhere in the world!

Open gifts immediately, there is no delays needed. Use both hands to offer or the right, not the left, incase religion not known.

Flowers are always a great idea and from my own memories, the beauty and diversity of the flowers in the urban areas was outstanding. Carnations can be linked to funerals, so may be the only one to take care with.

Many people are quite na├»ve about what is available in Africa as a whole. With feelings that maybe everything is in the ‘bush’. From my own experiences in South Africa particularly, this is far from the truth. I never saw so many wonderful crafts, expert carvings, beautiful gifts of the highest quality. First class restaurants with world ratings and shopping Malls filled to the brim with anything you can buy elsewhere in the World plus more! Rural areas of course can not always compete with all this but the cities and major towns can certainly aid you with gifts to give and to bring home with you.

Gifts from home will always be a winner, so if it is possible to bring a souvenir into the country, do so if visiting. Great ideas would be coffee table books.

There is no expectations here for lavish presents in general, but this is a very polite society, so send thank you notes or e mails after your visit or after receiving gifts in return. Also try to be on time.

The 21st and 40th birthdays are the most largely celebrated, so these would be worth noting if invites extended to family parties. Splash out a little more and the wrapping should have more effort for these events.

A little bit of Romance from Corporate gifts Boston - South Africa collection

Traditional Zulu weddings involve giving and receiving of cows, blankets, mats with beadwork which is so typical to the Zulu traditions. But in this day and age, electronic gifts and home or kitchen wares are practical and certainly well received. If you receive an invite to a local wedding, be sure not to miss it. One I attended had the most marvelous music, singing and dancing and there was not an instrument in sight. Melody and rhythm seem to be a natural given in this part of the world.

Food and drink in general would be acceptable, with care on religious differences along with personalized gifts in a Business setting. Monogrammed pens, folders and the like would be a wonderful idea.

After becoming good friends in South Africa, you may greet using the three clasps. First shake is the traditional western style with right hands, then second is fold your fingers around the others thumb and then revert to standard shake. To be met with a wide grin I am sure.

Not only the heat of the African sun, but the warmth of the people will melt your heart and bring you back time and time again. Not forgetting , of course, the wines whose grapes are ripened under those African skies…………

Monday, January 12, 2009

South African gifts and hampers launch from our US web site

We are pleased to include 11 designs from our South African partners, with other available dependent on needs. Shown is Snack Attack filled with pleasing delights and packed in an elegant striped gift box. Some gifts include alcohol and others are Pamper spa gifts or baby gifts. All are elegant and a pleasure to promote.

Look through at your leisure and lets us know your thoughts or requests! The prices include delivery to anywhere in South Africa. Order from the US in Dollars or from anywhere worldwide. Kindly e mail for multiple orders.

African Earth Angel natural Bath collection

All in One Barbecue set

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gift baskets & Hampers to South Africa ordered from the USA

We are pleased to announce that our new International destination for gifts is South Africa. We will be adding the gifts shortly and welcome our partners in this new venture! Personal or Corporate gifts can be viewed and paid for on our website in the US and delivered anywhere in South Africa. Watch that space!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Romanza Valentine hamper

After the success of our Christmas hamper this season, we have launched a Valentine hamper for that special festival of love. Filled with decadence and strewn with rose petals and flowers, it is certain to create a well of happiness in your loved ones heart, as well as their tum!

A fine selection of Lady Waltons gourmet cookies- butter and white chocolate Amaretto, Walkers chocolate chip shortbreads, Angelina Butter cookies, Lindt caramel chocolate, truffles, Smoked Salmon and cafe thin breads, Swiss cheese and crackers, la Dolce Vita mixed snack mix, caramel drenched popcorn, teas, hot chocolate and Fruit bon bons! All wrapped in red tissue and petals, closed hamper for shipping and suitably adorned with red bows and roses. Lovely gift to use for summer picnics thereafter.